The Jewish Chronicle
Irish Jewish leader defends Sunday Times journalist sacked for antisemitic slur
The chair of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland insists Kevin Myers is not antisemitic, after controversial comment referencing Claudia Winkelman and Vanessa Feltz
Representatives of the Irish Jewish community have defended the journalist who was fired after including an antisemitic trope on BBC pay.
The Sunday Times fired Kevin Myers yesterday, after its Irish edition included a piece by him on the corporation’s gender pay gap.
As well as making several references to women’s inferior work ethic, he noted that the BBC’s two highest paid female stars were Vanessa Feltz and Claudia Winkleman, two Jewish women.
Mr Myers wrote: “Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price”.
Maurice Cohen, chair of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, insisted Mr Myers was not antisemitic, and had “inadvertently stumbled into an antisemitic trope”.
In a statement, Mr Cohen said: “Yes, Kevin ought to have known that his bringing the religion of the two BBC presenters into his writings on Sunday would cause concern and upset and that it was both unnecessary and bound to be misunderstood.
“But the larger picture is that Kevin, who up until now was a respected columnist, has a particular curmudgeonly, cranky, idiosyncratic style.
“We, who have been reading Kevin’s work over many years and those who know him personally, know that while this was a real error of judgement on his part, also know that he is not an antisemite”.
Mr Cohen also appeared to reference another article of Mr Myers, from 2009, which was also shared widely on social media on Sunday. It had the title “I’m a holocaust denier, but I also believed Hitler planned the extermination of the Jewish people”.